Palestine Papers backlash? Protesters rally for Mahmoud Abbas at Al Jazeera office
Amid Palestine Papers revelations, Mahmoud Abbas got a rare show of public support, though some question if it was staged.
Ramallah, West Bank
Protesters stormed the headquarters of the Al Jazeera television station in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday afternoon, infuriated over the leak of confidential documents that reveal Palestinian negotiators offered Israel big concessions during peace talks over the past decade.Skip to next paragraph
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“Al Jazeera is a Zionist channel!" protesters shouted as they ran up a set of stairs to reach the Qatar-based channel's seventh floor office. Shards of the door plaque, emblazoned with the channel’s logo, flew down the stairwell, torn apart by demonstrators.
It was a rare show of public support for a beleaguered Mr. Abbas, although the apparent presence of Palestinian Liberation Organization officials and secret police in the crowd had some observers questioning the authenticity of the demonstrations and whether they truly reflected public sentiment.
A small group violently hammered the office door, smashed security cameras, and scrawled graffiti defamations of the TV channel on the walls. Others burned a Jewish flag with Al Jazeera's logo on it, while the words "Al Jazeera equals Jewish" were painted on the ground.
The documents, leaked Sunday, reveal that Palestinian negotiators have been willing to give Israel control over Jewish areas of the Old City; let Israel annex areas of East Jerusalem claimed by Palestinians as part of their future capital; and severely limit the number of Palestinian refugees allowed to return.
“They are lying, making problems for us,” a protester said of Al Jazeera's broadcasters. Mahmoud Elayan, who claimed to be one of the four organizers of the march, said: "This is an impulsive protest by angry Fatah supporters." (Fatah is the party of Abbas.)